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The Hartford Refused To Pay Covid Insurance Claim And SDNY Judge Concurred Now Appeal

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 17 –   A nationwide insurance company owned by The Hartford refused to pay claims based on damages from the COVID-19 pandemic and got sued by policyholder Social Life Magazine. 

 On May 14 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Valerie E. Caproni held a hearing on it, which Inner City Press covered.  More on Patreon, here.

  Now on May 17, Social Life Magazine has filed a notice of appeal: "NOTICE OF APPEAL Notice is hereby given that Plaintiff Social Life Magazine inc. in the above-named case hereby appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from the Order dated May 14, 2020 denying plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction. Dated: New York, New York May 17, 2020."

   The Hartford's Sentinel Insurance Company argued that it's the government closure orders that are causing the harm, not any virus in Social Life Magazine's office in the building at 315 West 39th Street in Manhattan.

  But the plaintiff can't sue Governor Andrew Cuomo, or Mayor Bill De Blasio, for these losses. Perhaps one day the Chinese Communist Party - although later on May 14 there was scheduled a hearing in the interminable lawsuit by 9/11 families against Saudi Arabia.

   Judge Caproni noted, Nothing in the Governor's Order prevents a small business owner from going in to water his or her plants and pick up mail. 

 Social Life Magazine's lawyer replied, Here in my building I'm alone. But there's no bosses here. Lawyers are considered essential, sole practitioners particularly so. But other business people, they were barred from their buildings. 

   The Insurer's lawyer quoted from an Empire State business Q&A, that a single person attending a non-essential business is permitted as long as not in contact with others.

    Social Life Magazine's lawyer Gabriel Fischbarg tried one more time, saying, The Executive Order supersedes that.   Judge Caproni ruled: I feel bad for your client, but... New York law requires damage to the property. You get a gold star for effort, but your motion for a preliminary injunction is going to be denied. 

    Afterward there was discussion of this case getting swept into a multi district litigation.

The Hartford's lawyer from Steptoe & Johnson said they would oppose this, that states' laws are simply too different. As one Inner City Press reader noted, DC's too - there, the industy lobbied against having to pay. We will continue to follow this issue.

This case is Social Life Magazine Inc. v. Sentinel Insurance Company Limited , 20-cv-3311 (Caproni). 


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